Doctor screwed up my surgery?

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New Member

Date Joined Jun 2012
Total Posts : 19
   Posted 9/5/2012 4:59 PM (GMT -6)   
So I'm over 3 months post op and since my surgery no matter what I eat that isn't liquid goes and gets stuck and I have to throw it back up with salavia coming up. I went back to my surgeon and he suggested a barium test to see if the bottom of my esophagus was perhaps closing up which is what it sounded like. Easy fix, just ballon it he said. WELL, turns out my esophagus is fine and water and everything goes down as long as I don't take a big gulp or it gets stuck. So now I have an appointment with him this Tuesday to see what he suggests this time around.

I'm so sick of this, this nissen fundoplication surgery has screwed me over in so many ways it seems. I was 165 back in January now I can't stop losing weight cause I can't seem to keep anything down. 129 lbs... I need help badly.

I also went in for this surgery because he said I had a hiatal hernia. Noticed I had gastristis which I assume is causing all the pain and discomfort and gurggling in my stomach as I bend over or do anything, I still have this problem and he had me on omperazole. Any tips, etc would be great.

I'd be lying if I didn't say I wish I could just leave this suffering..

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2011
Total Posts : 338
   Posted 9/5/2012 6:15 PM (GMT -6)   
Marvin, at 3 months (even over 3 months), you have essentially just had this surgery.  You are only a fraction of the way to full recovery.  One thing I have learned with this surgery is that recovery takes a LOOONG time, and it is the strangest and oftentimes most frustrating recovery imagineable.
But it does get better. 
Take care of your esophagus.  Baby it.  Understand what you must eat that will allow it to relax and heal.
I advise chicken soup.
Then you can get more daring with your food choices, and then back off a bit, having chicken soup (or other easy-to-eat food).
It's all about getting your stomach and esophagus used to normal foods again, but you will need to back off every so often to give it a chance to relax and heal.
Don't bend over so much, if that is causing issues. 
Relax into the healing.  I know it's easier said than done but you are in this for the long haul.  You got the surgery for a very good reason, and you need to baby yourself for a long while until you start to realize the vast benefits of having had the surgery.
Don't worry so much.
By the way, when you eat, you must chew very, very well.  Let the food dissolve in your mouth from all the chewing.
I know what you mean about losing weight.  I'm at 160 lbs (6'3"), and used to weigh 200 lbs.  I've gained weight since my lowest weight (I got down to less than 150 lbs), but it took over 9 months to do it.  At the year mark I will start to really lift weights again.  Probably sooner, actually.

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2012
Total Posts : 19
   Posted 9/5/2012 6:38 PM (GMT -6)   
I think your confused on what I pointed out. Even my surgeon that did it said nothing should be getting stuck at this point. Nothing. and EVERYTHING is getting stuck in my esophagus. I take a bite and chew really really good of anything and it seems to get stuck. So I swallow and swallow to point where I basically puke up the salivia along with some of the food contents.

Reason I'm so condone on this is because starting in two weeks I will be working as a Pepsi Merchandiser. I need my health when I go to putting tons of hours and lifting in.

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2012
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 9/5/2012 6:49 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey Marvin!! You have found the right place to vent and find support.

I have been reading on this sight for months and only posted a couple of days ago when I read a post from someone just as frustrated as you. You are not alone and what you are experiencing is not unusual.
I will leave the details for the many veterans on this sight. Keep reading, they know what they are talking about.

Briefly....I had my Nissen May 31st with a hernia repair. Like you, I never got past the swallowing, lost 40lbs and thought I was dying on August 15th.
My surgeon loosened my wrap on August 17th and I have started over...succesfully with the help of this website.

It is HARD, It is SLOW but you can make it.

I worked my first full day today.....took it real slow...ate every 2 hours (soup,grits,applesauce,whipped yogurt, soft cheese, noodles etc) and supplements.

I will attempt to answer any questions that you have if needed but will bow out now for the veteran's to help you.

Power in numbers has new meaning for me....

Elite Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 9/5/2012 7:44 PM (GMT -6)   
Did you have a motility study done before the surgery?
If not ask for one now.
You sound like you're have motility problems.
When life throws you lemons....
Pick them up and throw them right back at them! :))

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 7188
   Posted 9/5/2012 7:48 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Marvin,
You've already had three excellent responses to your post.  Like the good members who posted their support and thoughts, I understand your frustration and fear.  Obviously, you need to be able to eat.  When you say, "everything goes down as long as I don't take a big gulp or it gets stuck." It sounds like you're taking large bites and that's when the problems occur.
Even at 3 months, you'll need to take very small bites and chew, chew, chew, until whatever you're eating is a liquid/creamy consistency.  If small bites go down, then take only small bites.  If you can swallow liquids and small bites go through your wrap, then it sounds like it's working fine.
Keep in mind that this surgery takes a full 6 months for most of the healing and a year for the rest.  You're half-way to the six month mark, but still have plenty of healing time ahead of you.  In other words, what you're going through is within the range of "normal" among people recovering from Nissen surgery. 
You will need to continue taking small bites and chewing food to a liquid consistency for as long as it takes.  In fact, you'll always have to eat more slowly and chew your food thoroughly.  Remember that the wrap is a barrier that stops acid from refluxing, but also stops food from easily entering the stomach.  I'm 3 and a half years post-op, and I still have to eat slowly and chew my food thoroughly.
If I'm misunderstanding you, and you can't get liquid and even very small, fully chewed bites of food through your wrap, your surgeon should have learned what's going on by looking at your barium swallow results, so he/she will know how to help you.  As Joy suggested, you might consider getting a motility study to see if there is a problem with your swallowing.  If you find that your surgeon can't solve your problem in a reasonable time, I suggest that you seek out a highly qualified, highly experienced Nissen surgeon who can offer you a second opinion.
I understand your concern about going back to work.  I wish you all the very best.
Take care,
Words of wisdom by Eckhart Tolle:
"Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.”

“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose”

“Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.”

Post Edited (dencha) : 9/5/2012 6:51:31 PM (GMT-6)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 4961
   Posted 9/6/2012 7:03 AM (GMT -6)   

Unfortunately what you are experiencing can be normal for up to a year or so. It really depends on how well your body heals and adjusts to your new mechanism.
The chewing to a liquid and taking small bits is very important. I am over a year post op and still things can get stuck if I get in a rush when eating some things. The key is to relax when this happens. Take time between bites to feel if it has gone through. If it does feel as it has take a small drink and feel it go down and if it pushes the food through.
Don't wait until your esophagus is about full. This does take some patience and practice. Think of it as a kind of physical therapy. It's tough in the beginning, but helps over time.

Take care,
Moderator: GERD/Heartburn
Nissen 6/06 and 5/09
#3 on 8/24/11

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2012
Total Posts : 46
   Posted 9/6/2012 8:36 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Marvin,

I second everything said above, but wanted to chime in one one other thought. After my first Nissen, I had the same exact issue -- nearly everything go stuck for the first 3 or so months. I could get down a small bite of something, but then the next bite would freeze up - I would try to drink to push it down - and then I would end up running to the bathroom to throw it up.

What I've learned in retrospect was that at that early stage of recovery, I needed to be eating MUCH smaller meals spread through the day. If you drink a juice box and then try to eat something (even something chewed to death), your stomach is already full of liquid, and therefore the wrap is tighter around your esophagus. As the months go on, the stomach will stretch a bit, and this problem will get better.

I know that doesn't solve the problem right now, but it will get better.

Also, if you get stuck, don't grab the liquids right away. Put your hands up over your head and stand up. You will look silly, but sometimes the change in position helps with motility, and will allow the stuck food to pass.

Diagnosed with GERD 5/99 -
Lap. Nissen 7/00;
Lap. Nissen w/ Mesh Repair (>50% Herniation) 4/10;
Lap. Nissen, Rivet Mesh Repair & Gastropexy 7/12

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2012
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 9/6/2012 9:50 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Marvin. I am a brand new member (just joined today), but I have been reading this site for some time now. I had my first Nissen done in 2007 and it worked beautifully. No side effects from it whatsoever (I use the term side effects rather than complications because surgery is like medicine; it's done to make you healthier).

I had a 2nd Nissen done just this past May and have had nothing but side effects from it. I experienced Dumping Syndrome and swallowing difficulties, very bothersome left shoulder pain, severe bloating and gas, and tummyaches. The swallowing difficulty was my main concern. How could I not be able to swallow my own saliva!!?? My surgeon sent me for a barium swallow and there it was; an esophageal stricture. I had two esophageal dilations done; both unsuccessful. We decided on re-do surgery, which I had done a week ago yesterday. So far so good. I am swallowing everything including my own saliva.

All the responses to your post are spot on with advice. The healing time for this surgery takes a long time. No lifting, minimal bending, no pushing, no pulling, eat 6-8 small meals daily, chew well, no gum, no carbonated drinks, etc. Some people heal faster than others and some people take a very long time to heal. Go with whatever your body is telling you. Weight loss is so normal with this surgery.

If your swallowing difficulties continue or you are just that worried & upset by the inability to swallow, ask for a barium swallow.

Good luck to you Marvin.
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